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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  March 29, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PDT

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this morning my question who should be apologizing for raisisme racism on campus? plus tv on color and the article that had them seeing red. and the alarming spike of hiv cases in a small midwestern town. first, a critical countdown in the middle east. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. for many years, world powers have tried to derail iran's nuclear program because most of the world, and especially the united states and israel do not want iran to have a nuclear bomb
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in its arsenal. many tactics have been tried. economic sanctions, cyber warfare, sabotage threats of military action and yet iran's centrifuges have continued to spin. now there just may be progress just over the horizon. for more than a year the united states along with britain, france, germany, russia and china has been negotiating with iran over its nuclear program. the basics iran would get relief from economic sanctions that have devastated its economy. in exchange iran would agree to a series of controls that would give the rest of the world at least a year's notice should iran abandon the deal and start building a nuke. they set themselves a deadline to have a concrete framework for a deal in place on march 31. that's tuesday. so as we speak, the country's foreign ministers are huddled together along with the energy department heads in iran and the u.s. in a conference room at a
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lavish hotel in switzerland, hammers out several major sticking points. if they succeed, and despite progress it's a big if it would be a historic moment. a success both for iran and the world powers led by the u.s. a success would also be a major diplomatic achievement for president obama, who won the presidency in part on promises that he would repudiate george w. bush's policy. that he would engage in direct diplomacy with countries like iran without preconditions. >> we're also going to have to i believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with iran and this is a major difference that i have with senator mccain. this notion that by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. it has not worked in iran it has not worked in noukrth korea. in each instance our efforts have accelerated their getting nuclear weapons. that will change when i'm president of the united states. >> and the direct negotiations with iran feel like a
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fulfillment of the president's campaign promises. but of course it's more complicated than that. we are at war, again in iraq as well as in syria and fighting against the islamic state also known as isis. we've dropped about 10,000 bombs on those countries since august and officials say the u.s.-led coalition has killed more than 8,000 isis fighters. nor does the u.s. have its hands clean in yemen, which is sliding further into chaos in the aftermath of a rebel uprising and ouster of the country's president. now saudi arabia with help from the united states is bombing the rebel groups and may order a ground invasion. all this after years of the american military to use drones to bomb suspected al qaeda targets throughout yemen. iran is closely involved in both of these conflicts. in iraq it is iranian supported militias who are fighting against isis on the same side as the iraqi government and u.s.-led coalition. in yemen, iran is reportedly backing the rebels who have taken over the country and who
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are now the target of saudi arabia backed by the united states. but officials involved in the u.s./iran nuclear negotiations say the talks are restricted to the nuclear program. it is after all, complicated enough already and many sticking points remain. among other things, negotiators are trying to agree on a timeline for sanctions relief on how much access nuclear inspectors will have access to facilities and how long the deal will last. with the deadline coming nearer and nearer things are anything but certain. joining me now is nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. kristen, what's the latest on the continuing efforts to reach a deal? >> reporter: melissa, with that tuesday deadline looming the pressure to get a deal couldn't be greater. in fact secretary of state john kerry canceled plans to attend an event in honor of his long-time senate colleague, edward kennedy, to continue the talks in switzerland. u.s. officials are signaling they are getting closer to a
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deal and there are reports that iran has accepted terms that would limit the machines they could use to enrich uranium to 6,000. one of the largest sticking points continues to evolve around sanctions. iran wants them lifted immediately once a deal is in place but the u.s. and european al lies won't agree to that saying it should be phased out over time. recently re-elected benjamin netanyahu openly expressing concerns about this deal coming together. he thinks ptthe u.s. is being too lien yenltenient lenient, arguing iran shouldn't have any machines to enrich uranium. there are a number of democrats and republicans that say they should have the final sign-off on any deal. the obama administration has expressed concerns that all of the chaos in the middle east could undercut the talks. it's important to point out though melissa, what secretary
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kerry is trying to negotiate is a political agreement to reach a deal basically the broad outlines. the actual deadline for a deal isn't until june. still, the white house says tuesday is critical and they have no plans to extend this deadline. melissa, back to you. >> nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> reporter: thanks. even as white house officials see a nuclear deal with iran within grasp, members of congress on both sides of the aisle remain very skeptical. the senate sent a unanimous message to the white house this week voting 100-0 for a nonbinding resolution that would increase sanctions on iran if it breaks the terms of a future deal. some lawmakers believe the obama administration is getting tunnel vision in its zest for an agreement. senator bob menendez the lead democrat on the senate foreign relations committee put it this way. my fear is that we are no longer guided by the principle that no deal is better than a bad deal. but instead we are negotiating any deal for a deal's sake.
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i'd like to bring in hillary man ever it everett, author of "going to tehran why american must accept the republic of tehran." hillary, is the fear that the administration would take any deal a well-founded concern? >> well it's kind of an odd concern. can you imagine if congress acted this way when we were trying to normalize relations with china. the only deal that can be had with iran is one that is negotiated. the alternative to that is invading the country, overthrowing the government and imposing one on them or trusting people like senator menendez who voted for and got the united states to invade iraq on these trumped-up pretenses that iraq had nuclear weapons. both of those scenarios are disastrous for the united states. so the only way for the administration to go forward as president obama promised us when
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he ran for the presidency in 2008 is a negotiated resolution of our differences with iran. >> so this point that we brought up and that you brought up again here around the obama doctrine of being in conversation even with those who are not necessarily your allies is of course complicated by six years into the presidency also being engaged in all of these other conflicts. how will our engagement in these other conflicts in the region impact these talks? >> i think it's made it a lot harder. the second term obama presidency seems to be very different from the first term. we saw disastrous u.s. military interventions in libya as well as continuing negative interventions in syria, iraq and africa and now supporting the saudi intervention in yemen. that makes it much harder at this point to get a deal particularly the iranians are focused on this concern that president obama is not that coherent in his policy making
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and in policy implementation and may not actually be able to deliver on the commitments the united states puts on the table. so the iranians are very focused on getting u.n. security guarantees, u.n. sanctions lifted and that's something that i think is the remaining sticking point as they try to get a deal by tuesday. >> so coherence hey me one part of this. what you've offered a critique about is how the obama administration has explained the value of these talks to american foreign policy to american security. can you talk to me a little bit about that concern? >> yes, and i find this extremely problematic. i call it a hold your nose approach. essentially the obama administration has bought into this demonization of iran that is put out there by the extreme right in this country and our so-called allies in saudi arabia and israel that iran is an evil country, part of the axis of evil, and there can really be no negotiating with it. so president obama's solution is a hold your nose approach.
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if we can agree on a certain number of centrifuges in their nuclear program, maybe we can contain iran long enough to appease our so-called allies. that's not going to work. i think that's not going to sell here in the united states and that will only incentivize our so-called allies to take matters more into their own hands and pursue more aggressive approaches. precisely what i think president obama is trying to get away from. i think he is genuinely trying to get us off this trajectory of military dominance in the middle east but this kind of passive hold your nose approach isn't going to do it. >> so is there a way to talk about the state of iran without this presumptive discourse of evil? >> i think there certainly is. as nixon and kissinger realized i think with the people's republic of china, it's not to go through our list of grievances and have them agree to deal with some of our grievances, it's really to go to tehran as nixon and kissinger went to beijing, and show either
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physically or strategically the importance of iran as china was so important as a rising power in asia. strategically to accept and understand and work with rising iran, because of its legitimacy its legitimate domestic political system that many in the united states don't like because it's grounded in islamism and its foreign policy independence. it's counterintuitive but it actually helps the united states that iran pursues its own interests as it sees it and doesn't just take money and weapons from the united states to pursue short-term american goals. >> hillary always helping us to think through this very complicated set of questions. thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. before we go to break, a quick update on the co-pilot of the germanwings airbus that was intentionally crashed tuesday in france. there have been a series of reports about the health of andreas lubitz including details that he sought help for vision
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problems. this morning a spokesman for the german airline, lufthansa, told nbc news they quote, had no knowledge of medical problems of the co-pilot. stay with us still to come the hiv outbreak in the heartland. we'll have the latest on indiana's public health threat. but up next the military milestone that happened on this day 42 years ago. it's just you and your honey. the setting is perfect. but then erectile dysfunction happens again. plenty of guys have this issue not just getting an erection, but keeping it.
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on this day in 1973 the last u.s. combat troops left vietnam, ending the united states' nearly decade-long intervention in the vietnam war, a conflict that divided america and still haunts our foreign policy today. the first u.s. combat troops arrived in vietnam in 1965 to help the government of south vietnam in its battle against communist forces in the north.
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by the end of that year some 200,000 u.s. troops were in vietnam. by the next year that number had doubled to 400,000. at the height of the u.s. involvement in vietnam, more than half a million troops were there, but as the war dragged on and the troop numbers and casualties increased, so did opposition to the war at home. finally, after the loss of nearly 60,000 american lives and the lives of nearly 2 million vietnamese a peace agreement was reached in january of 1973 and two months later the last american combat troops left the u.s. mission in south vietnam with little fan fare. >> its mission was to prevent an all-out attempt by an aggressor to impose its will through raw, military force. that mission has been accomplished. >> but a year after u.s. troops left full-scale war had resumed, and by 1975 the city of
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saigon had fallen to communist forces and the war ended in defeat for the u.s. and its allies. the vietnam war was the longest war in u.s. history. that is until the current war, which america is still fighting in afghanistan. at the height of the conflict more than 100,000 u.s. troops were in afghanistan. right now there are around 10,000. president obama has pledged to cut that number in half by the end of this year. bituesday, during a news conference with the afghan president, president obama said he would keep troop levels where they are at least until the ending of 2015. >> afghanistan remains a very dangerous place, and insurgents still launch attacks, including cowardly suicide bombings against civilians. this reflects our partnership with afghanistan which is maintaining keeping it secure and prevent it from launching terrorist attacks.
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>> the president is still holding firm to a 2016 withdrawal date for all u.s. troops from afghanistan. by then the afghan war will have lasted 15 years, nearly five years longer than the u.s. military intervention in vietnam. and there are already concerns about what will happen when u.s. forces leave. because the end of u.s. combat missions in afghanistan won't necessarily mean the end of combat. a lesson learned when american troops left another war zone on this day, march 29th, 1973. ll busin ess you have to work hard, know your numbers, and stay focused. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo? just peachy...literally. ink from chase. so you can.
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by many conservatives, governor pence made a seemingly progressive move authorizing a needle exchange program in rural indiana. an issue that's more often championed by democrats. >> i do not support needle exchanges antidrug policy but this is a public health emergency. >> it's an effort to halt the hiv outbreak that's plaguing southeastern indiana. according to the governor, the area typically sees five new cases of the virus each year but officials report that since december, as many as 81 people have been diagnosed with hiv and all of those cases have been linked to iv drug use. the drug of choice opana, a prescription pain killer that's more poettent than others like oxycodone. the pills of designed to slowly release the dugrug into your bloodstream but when you inject them, the high hits more quickly. the governor allows the needle
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exchange program to operate for 30 days. is that long enough to slow what he calls a public health emergency. i want to dig into this with beth meyerson assistant professor of health policy and management. when the governor announced this needle exchange program, you actually tweeted 30-day needle exchange without real public health systems resources is irresponsible. looks like political expediency trumps public health once again. so you think this was just a political move in this moment? >> i wish it were not, melissa, but afraid it is because the announcement occurred -- actually the legislature knew about the announcement the day before during a hearing of the public health committee. representative ed clear who chairs the committee and others were bringing forth the needle exchange policy for the entire state and representative from the governor basically said hey, we're going to put this on the table but it will only be
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for 30 days and scott. while i want to be hopeful and say oh gee, this is great, as a policy watcher and analyst, i'm like nope 30 days means nothing for public health. 30 days is a legislative calendar. what happens in 30 days? the legislature will not be able to act, so that really just basically sets the message to colleagues, hey, this is taken care of just for now. but none of this i hope if we learn from what's happening in scott county none of this is going to be taken care of just like that. it's a system that needs to wrap around people and it's going to take time to build it. >> the very language of saying we need to do this now because it's a public health emergency also suggests as though sort of the ordinary level of hiv infection does not constitute a public health emergency. i'm wondering about that sort of whether or not we've gotten to a point where we simply lack an understanding of the continuing ravages of hiv here in this country. >> i think you're absolutely right. and then we want to think about how we think about people who
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use injection drugs. very stigmatized community. we don't want to be talking about this. even the governor had said hey, i don't think needle exchange is a way to address drug use. needle exchange is a way to address hiv and hepatitis c and also to get people into the health system and bring them into preventive and treatment services. i think it's really more about we just want to forget. this is more so a challenge in rural communities, as we've heard in the press from our colleagues down there, dr. avery, et cetera who are fighting the good fight, that really we want to forget it. i want to remind colleagues and i know you know about this too, melissa, we don't invest in the public health system. we are 37th in the country for our state per capita public health investment. we invest $17 and change per hoosier per year. if they doubled that then we could do a lot and not just for hiv, but for everyone including substance abuse treatment.
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so that's one. we are also 50th in per capita public health funding from cdc and hrsa the two agencies that not just fund hiv stuff but public health stuff generally. that's because we've had this mythology in indiana that if we aschew federal funding, somehow that's good. we're just subsidizing everybody else. i would really like to see the money come here. we could absolutely build the system that i think our colleagues locally are trying to tell that story. dr. avery and other colleagues locally on the ground are saying hey, we need more. even the needle exchange is a good idea but it needs a system around it and that's going to take more than just 30 days or even just quick response teams. it's going to take real public health leadership. i think we have an opportunity in the legislature under ed clear's leadership if we can get a needle exchange statewide and double our public health investment per capita state investment, that would be miles aheld of where we are right now.
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>> we have very little time but i want you to just help my viewers to understand when you are talking about an hiv infection outbreak at the level that you're currently looking at what that then means in six months, in 12 months in 18 months if there isn't a strong powerful intervention here. >> so this was hidden as many outbreaks are, because we don't have a system of early identification. and so this could be happening in other communities and we don't know it. so it's a little like we don't know what we don't know right? so we know of course, it started in scott county among a group of people who use infection drugs. it's going to spread out because of sexual -- we're all sexual right? so that's going to happen. and in other kmunltscommunities, we don't know it's not happening now. we watch surrogate indicators we've seen some uptick in the last two years. those in the aids community and really the capable department of health. we have a wonderful state department of health capable leadership, and they watch this too. and so we know that there are
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these indicators for need in communities. double that with the lack of system infrastructure and you have a recipe for disaster really. >> beth meyerson in indianapolis, thank you for taking a little time to help us understand such a complicated issue an also reminding us of the ways in which rural communities are often left out of our conversations on this. thank you, beth. >> my pleasure thanks. up next angelina jolie and what it means when a very public figure reveals details about her private health.
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she's one of the most watched women in the world. so much that after her leg-baring split at the 2012 academy awards her right leg and her right leg alone went viral. angelina jolie is an oscar-winning celebrity, after all, and so her body has been
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coveted, analyzed picked apart and just about every tabloid outlet at some point has talked about how many kids she has, her laura croft physique her lips and, yes, that leg. but on tuesday it was angelina jolie who did the talking, offering up her body for discussion on her own terms and in a very different way. in an op-ed for "the new york times," she revealed that she had her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed as a preventive measure to lower her risk of cancer. thrust into menopause at the age of 39 the actor and mother of six said i feel feminine and grounded in the choices i am making for myself and my family. i know my children will never have to say mom died of ovarian cancer. it was her second preventive surgery. she had her breasts removed three years ago in a decision she also detailed in "the new york times" in 2013. jolie, who lost her mother grandmother and aunt to cancer
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carries a genetic mutation which increases the odds of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. she is being applauded for shining a light on a normally taboo subject and for empowering women to seek genetic testing and being more informed. it's called the angelina effect. what are the real world consequences of such a public figure taking on and talking about an issue of women to women of varying backgrounds. joining me irin car moan dr. althea maybank and jennifer bronschweiger, who is deputy editor of "more" magazine. i actually wanting to start with you, jennifer. i'm wondering what "more" has been hearing from your readers since jolie came out. what they're saying about
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whether or not she is empowering to them or irritating to them. what are they saying? >> women are very supportive of angelina's honesty and of her opening up a conversation about these very difficult health decisions. so the readers are moved by her and inspired by her, but there are nuances to the whole conversation that a thousand word op-ed in "the new york times" can't hit so we're also hearing that not every woman has her privilege or access to health insurance and medical care and she is very lucky to have those things but they don't apply to everybody. >> i'm always of two minds on that. on the one hand yes, clearly, that intersection of health and access is enormous. on the other hand, it also is a bit of a reminder that we are not necessarily protected from the ravages of health problems just because of wealth or fame. >> absolutely. and what angelina did was
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medically really what is counselled for her. she didn't do anything extraordinary given her very unique set of risk factors. but it is very important to recognize that angelina was doing what was right for her and that that is not a blanket statement of what might be right for other people. >> and in fact so doctor that's part of what i'm thinking here is that celebrity status can operate to open up a conversation or to shut down a conversation, right? to make it feel like if this is what angelina jolie with wealth and access would do then it must be the best thing to do. i'm wondering then how you actually allow it to be an opening of a conversation instead of a closing of one. >> well from a public health point of view and i agree as a woman and as a health provider that it was very courageous that key came out with this. the very way we define femininity really depended on the organs she had removed and it's very courageous when it's been shrouded in seek res,
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gender oppression and cultural norms that don't support us to tell our stories. for her to tell it is very powerful for many women. for us in public health we are starting to use story telling as a way to promote health. we see that these stories, in new york city we know about the smoking cessation and smoking ads that have been out there and show people's fingers that aren't there any longer. that has a lot of power and a lot of impact. you see the rise from angelina's story around breast cancer and around screening and testing but you also see action and more conversation happening. so from a public health point of view, it is helpful and so we use it and embrace it in that way. we also understand the realities that not every woman has the power and privilege. not every woman has the power and privilege to access health care and the health care system and have the best medical doctors. not every woman has the time to take off of her job in order to go to multiple appointments,
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because genetic counseling is a lot of appointments genetic testing, followup follow-through. a lot of women are the heads of their households and also having to care for their family. even if the affordable care act is saying that it's going to cover genetic counseling as well as testing, if it shows that it's warranted, many women may still have to pay out of pocket costs and they'll have to make the decision do i feed my family or do i pay this. so there are a lot of realities that do come in play and we have to be very honest about that. we are noticing that through the center of health equity in new york city. >> everything that you just laid on the table, we're going to take a quick break and when we come back i want to ask about that. i'm of two minds on this question of telling stories and the ways in which it is required of women when we're talking about our reproductive organs in a way that maybe nobody else has to talk so much about their internal organs in order to have freedom of access. thank you, though to dr. althea maybank. the rest of my panel is sticking around. the lawmaker who went public with her story of her abortion and why she said she had to come
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when it comes to health and bodies, there's a certain effect to celebrity candor. angelina jolie's frankness is expected to help erode the barriers between private and public, reproductive health and health in general. jolie is not the only one going public. wednesday ohio lawmakers debated a bill which would ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. the bill does not make an exception for pregnancies conceived out of rape on incest. on the house floor in front of her colleagues ohio state representative teresa feddor revealed publicly that she was sexually assaulted became pregnant, and had an abortion. >> respect, my reason my rape my abortion. and i guarantee you, there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice.
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what you're doing is so fundamentally unhuman, unconstitutional and i have sat here too long. >> the representative's disclosure is just the latest personal admission from a female lawmaker who chose to break silence about her own experience while her colleagues debated issues of reproductive rights on the floor. the anti-abortion floor cleared the ohio house on wednesday. joining my table, dr. willie parker, a board member of physicians for reproductive health. irin, i want to start with you because this notion of the bravery of talking about our reproductive lives in public is both -- like i see courage there and i also see a kind of requirement to have that conversation in a way that isn't true for other health aspects. >> i think it's tough. you know it's one of the reasons why it's important to have women in the room. it's important on its own terms and it's also important because the legislative conversations become very abstract. they become about women over
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there, what those women are doing. when you have one in three women before menopause who are going to have an abortion odds are it's not that woman over there, it's that woman right here. but you're right, as a sort of abdication of privacy that happens in this almost kind of expectation that unless you have somebody who is willing to open up their story that way that somehow it doesn't count, that somehow your objections don't count and you can't just say this is a violation of women's human rights you can't just say this is a violation of constitutional rights. i think it's very important to note that the other side is engageing in a form of story telling and that story telling has been very very effective over the past decades. it includes the story that women are coerced into abortions, it's never freely chosen or they don't really know what they're doing and thus the lawmaker has to come in and tell them what it is what they're doing, has to tell them it's a baby and so on and it includes this i regret my abortion narrative which has been very, very effective, including at the supreme court. so as much as i hear you, you know, that these female lawmakers have to retraumatize
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themselves in front of the nation and say it happened to me in order to even be heard, the truth is the other side's narrative is very strong and it's working. >> okay. and so the other piece of it for me, dr. parker is in part again -- and it's a push me/pull me. it's this idea that there are good reasons and bad reasons to seek a termination as opposed to simply a right to seek a termination of a pregnancy. >> the reality is that 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, but unplanned doesn't mean unwanted. >> sure. >> and so that means the context in which women experience pregnancy, they are often having to make a decision about whether or not to continue. i agree with you. i have abandoned the notion that there have to be justifiable and unjustifiable abortions because we then pigeon hole women into certain cat core -- categories that we feel comfortable with.
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and so it creates this public stake in a very private decision. >> and that right there, that idea of a public stake in women's bodies so i want to step back from the abortion piece just for a moment to think a little bit about what does and doesn't end up on the agenda when we talk about women's bodies. i just rarely hear us talk about rape and sexual assault as a public health problem, right? to say that in this case what i really want is aggressive legislation, not so much to provide access to abortion for rape survivors, although certainly, but aggressive legislation that might help to stop and stem rape in sexual assault. >> yes. the conversation around abortion has become so polarizing and so all-encompassing that it has swallowed up other kinds of conversation. in fact the women who were sharing details of their abortions were doing so because of exactly what you were saying where they were -- they were
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having to prove that it was a legitimate reason to have an abortion and that was around the rape conversation. so they were really standing up and making themselves quite vulnerable in order to push back against this the way the conversation has really drifted. >> representative victoria steele, who is a state representative in arizona, told her own story but then she wrote in "cosmopolitan" that women shouldn't have to tell their deeply personally stories. we should not be made to bare that part of our lives in a public way to be able to access legal, medical care. for me dr. parker this is what i am wondering in how it may actually impact the relationship between clinicians and their patients in those moments. if there is a stigma around a medical procedure, it might actually make it more difficult for women to even be honest with their physicians in private spaces about what's happening. >> absolutely. the shame and marginalization
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has proven to be a far more effective tool than the legislation. so there are multiple planes on which we have to address -- a striking parallel would be if the issue is about health and safety when it comes to a stigmatized condition like hiv, if people are made to feel embarrassed about the mechanism by which they acquire the hiv, they're less likely to disclose. similarly, women are pigeon holed into declaring there was a condition that was beyond their control that resulted in their pregnancy and if it was anything other than that and the reality is the majority of women haven't been raped. they have not had incest. they have an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. so it creates barriers and wedges. >> jennifer braunschweiger, thank you for being here. the last clinic performing
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any device. in 1981 the state of mississippi had 14 clinics that offered women abortion services. today there's only one. early monday morning the jackson women's health organization was vandalized. surveillance video shows a hooded figure lurking around the clinic. shortly afterwards footage shows one of the cameras being torn down. the clinic reported on its website that employees arrived at work monday to find all exterior security cameras destroyed. the power generator was dismantled and seriously damaged. unfortunately, this isn't the only threat facing the group. we've told you about the state legislature trying to impose regulatory hurdles that would be impossible to meet and ultimately force the clinic to close. specifically lawmakers want abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, something no hospital in the area is willing to grant. that proposed law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
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but last month the state asked the supreme court to take its case. we are waiting to hear if the court will accept it. meanwhile the jackson women's health organization lives with uncertainty, fearing it could be closed at any time at without warning. still with me at the table, irin carmone who's been covering women's access to care and dr. willie parker a board member for physicians for reproductive health. dr. parker is it a state of siege? what does it mean to be providing services in this kind of circumstance? >> well when i grew up the older people in my community in alabama would say in times like these, there's always been times like these. it seems that jackson women's health has become a pilgrimage destination for people who want to vet their anti-abortion activity. on spring break we have kids come down from colleges and at
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various times when they think that the coverage is going to be high, some of the more traditional players, like the groups that oppose abortion come and make a spectacle. this action is something that the staff has become used to. they're more exasperated with this uncivil action. >> we're looking here at an uptick between 2010 and 2014 of threats against staff, against physicians who perform these services. irin we started this whole set of blocks talking about women and women's health with angelina jolie. i keep i guess, wondering so who is the celebrity who would stand at jackson women's health and say, you know what i'm using my celebrity status at this point to say stay away. this is a safe medical facility
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that provides a constitutionally protected medical procedure. >> i keep thinking about how angelina jolie chose to tell her story and she chose to open up all of her private medical details for the benefit of others, but that the people coming in and out of the mississippi clinic don't really get that choice because there are people standing there filming them talking to them and forcing them to discuss their decision. they do have a first amendment right to be there, but the supreme court did imagine a kind of conversation that doesn't look like what the folks who have to walk in all the time actually experience. a warm like friendly hold my hand i love you conversation. there are certainly people like that out there. but there are also people shouting in your face "you're a murderer." and this kind of surveillance that happens for people coming in and out of a clinic they have an abdication of privacy as they're coming in. i think that that has a real chilling effect. >> when we think about the
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chilling effects, i guess i wonder a bit about fear. fear both for physicians and staff members, but also for women who if faced with this kind of gauntlet simply -- it's already hard enough to access in mississippi and the deep south but then make a decision not to access it at all. >> let me be clear, make no mistake about it this is a form of domestic terrorism. what was implied by the property damage is that we'll go to a greater length. so women, as you described, have to walk through a group who are constantly harassing them. i wonder if they won't extrapolate from this destruction of clinic property to what degree they are safe when they come. you know in the same regard women have been placed in desperate situation to access abortion care and they will continue to take the risks that they have to take when they decide they don't want to be pregnant.
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>> i just keep thinking many of these states where we're seeing a narrowing of abortion access is also states where people didn't take medication expansion. medicaid dollars could never have been used for abortion services anyway because of what happened around the aca and pre-existing laws but it is about women's health in the broadest sense. these are also the states where they can't get other kinds of screenings cholesterol screenings, basic health care. >> access to contraception. access to contraception is deeply contested. it would be so interesting to see this kind of interest in reducing rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality. but i haven't seen it. >> it does give light to the idea that opposition to abortion is all about protecting women where in fact there are laws that you could expect to protect women with medicaid expansion. coming up next racism on campus. where did it really begin, and just who should be apologizing?
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yoplait. smooth, creamy, and craved by the whole family. welcome back i'm melissa harris-perry. on wednesday, one of the former university of oklahoma fraternity members who was caught on camera singing a racist chant spoke publicly for the first time about the incident. levi pettit is one of the two students of the ou chapter of sae who was expelled from the university for leading the chant. after meeting with african-american clergy and civic leaders who pettit said helped him understand the meaning behind what he said, he spoke at a news conference where he began with this. >> let me start by saying that i'm sorry. deeply sorry. i'm so sorry for all the pain that i've caused and i want you all to know that directly from
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me. although i don't deserve it i want to ask for your forgiveness. there are no excuses for my behavior. i never thought of myself as a racist, i never considered it a possibility. but the bottom line is that the words that were said in that chant were mean hateful and racist. >> pettit's words were enough to satisfy the oklahoma leaders who stood with him during his statement. >> we accept the apology of levi, this young man, and we forgive him for the mistake which he has made. >> it wasn't the only time this week that this community began healing the racial rift with apologies offered and acceptances given. a meeting in the office of ou president, david boren, brought together the former sae members and african-american student leaders in a moment of unity that boren said blot him to tears. >> to say it was a very emotional moment for me is an
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understatement. because i observed our students rendering apologies, apologies being accepted uniting, treating each other with care and concern and love and dedicating themselves to the rebuilding of our university community. >> now, of course not everyone was so ready to join the chorus of kumbaya. there are some who saw in levi pettit's apology not a heart felt remorse but a public relations performance by someone who is only sorry that he got caught. but let's pause for a moment. because if pettit's words are insufficient, what should we expect from him? i mean yes, the language he used on the bus was offensive, hurtful, even hateful. but racially offensive words are among the least consequential forms of racial harm. as a 24-year-old student, a personal public apology was the
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only kind of racial reparation pettit had the power to give in this circumstance. his offensive words fell short of the kind of structural racial injustice that while lacking the spectacle of a viral video is far more impactful in its reach and repercussions. in the face of systemic racism we should expect more than an apology from the institutions that are empowered to do more than just talk about it. i'm sorry was all the united states senate had to offer in june of 2005 when it approved a resolution apologizing for its historic inaction on passing anti-lynching legislation in the late 19th and early 20th century. the senate's better late than never for failing to prevent the lynching of thousands of african-americans in the jim crow south was cold comfort when just weeks later, hurricane katrina exposed the extend to which the government left thousands abandoned. the racial disparities turned an
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extreme weather event into a catastrophic human rights disaster. no amount of apology could ever fix that because structural racism requires a structural response, and that requires institutional action instead of words. it seems to be a critical point that university of oklahoma president david boren missed when he spoke about how to end racism. >> we can stop it if all of us and the institutions and organizations we belong to and all of us as individuals say we have zero tolerance for racism in america. that's not who we are. as an american people. >> listen as an institution, a university is empowered to do more than just call for an unrealistic and unattainable goal of individual tolerance and zero tolerance. and as the head of ou boren is in a position not to just talk about it he can feel free to be about it. he can take get lead on issues like the recruitment and
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retention of students and faculty of color that may not decrease intolerance but move the needle in a significant increase of racial equity on campus. by respond with meaningful policy to confront inequality and that's going to recognize that these kind of institutional deficiencies are racism. because if we only ever see and hear racism in the words of an individual, then all anyone ever has to do is say "i'm sorry." joining me now, jelani cobb associate professor at the university of connecticut and contributor to the susannah hesel whose father marched alongside dr. martin luther king jr. in selma. alan kenneth shidely, a student at the teachers college at columbia university and deion higinbotham. deon what did you think about the apology this week?
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>> i was really torn on how to feel about it. of course an apology is a start but that's really all it is it's just a start. i would have to see some more xds come from this. it really felt like he was reading a piece of paper and i -- i can't read his mind and see if he learned anything, but so far it's not enough for me. >> you said i can't read his mind, i can't see into his heart and i'm thinking yeah that's right. he's a student, he did something offensive, it was in words, he apologized and quite honestly that's all i got from it. but man am i irritated by this university president who keeps putting the entire world of racism and fixing it on his 20-something students instead of his own institution. >> right. i'll admit that i was inclined to be lenient in the case -- in this case because, one, as an educator you have to believe in people's capacity to change. secondly i reflected upon some
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of the homophobic lyrics that i rapped on when i was a young person. i was maybe as ignorant as this young person was in this instance. however, this is the means by which we engage race. we make it a series of personal failings. we don't like to think of it in terms of racism being useful structurally useful in society. when we look at starbucks and say let's have a conversation about race. the conversations are not the problem. the utility of racism the way people make money by exploiting people. what we saw in ferguson what we see with the criminal justice system, what we see with disparities in housing and other things people benefit in some ways and they have to be willing to deal with the tangible elements of racism. >> so i think for me that is exactly the crux. that's part of why i wanted students here at the table is i too have the sense of -- these are my students and my students
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say all kinds of stuff i don't like, right? but i always want to just bring them closer when they say stuff that i don't like. alan, i guess part of what i'm wondering is how we play this out. part of what a university is meant to do is teach experiences of personal responsibility, of conduct, of character, of citizenship, but at the same time provide lots of space for learning, for messing up for making mistakes and going forward. i'm wondering how you're seeing this? >> i'm seeing it exactly as you said as a teaching opportunity and learning opportunity. sadly, i don't think oklahoma set those up beforehand and that's why we're seeing it happen within in fraternity and from this individual and all of a sudden the community is reacting, trying to coddle him, take him in. now we'll teach him after he's messed up. but they should have set up the system before haebdhand, teaching him about power, teaching him about privilege. making him reflect on his own power and his own privilege. you're a white male.
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you need to learn how your role in society is viewed by other peach el. >> that idea of kind of the deconstruction of racism, dr. heshel, i'm down for race conversations, we do it on the show all the time. but i wonder about talking about race to deconstructing racism. what that looks at. >> we've started a class called black lives matter. it's a ten-week term ten professors teaching from very angles, so the classroom is a good place in most universities that's fine. but the question is why is there this typhoon of racism all around american colleges and universities. what's going on? is it something special about the university or an enactment of the united states. what is that people are behaving this way in colleges. well, we have supreme court justices disrespecting the president of the united states. how dare they? our students are simply
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reflecting what these adults are doing. the people in the highest positions of power in congress. >> for me that is precisely what i find most irritating about this moment. so this kid on the bus singing racist lyrics which i get are horrifying and terrible and clearly racist and you didn't not know that beforehand, right? and yet at the same time i keep thinking, why do you think that's happening? what is it you think is happening in the world that gives rise to that moment? i also love that you're teaching that class and i know jelani you're teaching a class on ferguson. stay with us, so much more. up next we'll take a closer look at the roots of racist acts on campus and ask what questions we should be asking just as professor heschel just asked us to do. can you pick me up at 6:30? ah... (boy) i'm here! i'm here! (cop) too late. i was gone for five minutes! ugh! move it. you're killing me. you know what, dad? i'm good.
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in the fall of 2006 an african-american high school student in the town of gina louisiana, asked if he could sit under a tree that traditionally had been a space reserved only for white students. the day after the student defied the tradition, three nooses appeared on the tree. shortly thereafter amid heightened racial tensions six black gina high students were arrested after a fight that left a white student with multiple bruises and a concussion. all six students were charged with attempted murder and initially faced up to 100 years in prison without parole. they would be known as. jena 6 and their plight had supporters to decry charges against the boys while noting the white boys responsible for the nooses were suspended but not charged. the movement coalesced around the issue of overincarceration of african-american men. but in the shadow of that larger question, another one quietly lingered. years after lynching had largely
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subsided in the south, how did those white students learn to send a message by hanging a noose from a tree? nearly a decade later, it's a question that remains unanswered as this week the department of justice announced charges against a university of mississippi student accused of putting a noose around the statue of james meredith the first african-american student to taendattend the school. the question is how in 2006 did you know that if you want to terrorize black students you put a noose on the tree? what is it that we are so carefully teaching about white supremacy and power and terrorism and racism even while we fail to teach some of the issues of encountering and dismantling privilege that you talked about earlier? >> i think it goes back to a failure of the education system. while we're talking about these, we're kind of walking around it. we're teaching about the lynching, we're teaching about the history of it but we're not really talking about the complexity of it and why it's
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still relevant today. >> are we really teaching lynching? it is not something that i encountered in my high school experience in virginia. now, i'm old, but the idea that we were even engaging in talking about it as a set of practices. >> lynching was definitely taught in my school but i won't say it was extensive. it might have been on one of the 500 pages in my book. so if anything though i think that we were taught -- we were taught about these concepts but we really didn't get into what they really meant. i think you have to really -- you have to sympathize with these concepts and you have to learn how to really feel them for what they were just to look at it as something of the past. really i think that's what might perpetuate what people are doing now with a noose to you know just intimidate black youth. ike i think it's really easy to do that when you say it happened in history, i can do it again. i know it still bothers you because you didn't learn what it really felt like. i think that's something that's not taught in a classroom.
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>> what i hear from both of you is that there's a lack of understanding of the content of it. and i keep thinking no there's a perfect understanding of the content of it. there's a reproduction of this knowledge going on in households. i preem households i'm not sure where it's going on. here are the tools and tactics of racialized terrorism in this country. >> it's an enactment of american history. one of the things that we don't have here we never had and we need very much is the truth and reconciliation type of commission in this country. where they actually we do address the issue. where is lynching what about slavery. we talk about it too often in our high school history class as part of the american economic history, let's say. it doesn't have the same kind of horror associated as for example, when we teach the holocaust. why? >> well i think there's -- i mean there are a couple of things that one, the united states felt even when we talked about what was happening in nazi germany, the united states -- >> felt cleansed.
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>> it did because we were able to have a distance between what was happening here and what was happening there. never mind hitler praising eugenics in america. so you can kind of imagine that you have a certain degree of distance on this. >> because you can say those bad guys over there did that horrible thing and you can teach it with horror rather than having we did this horrible thing here. >> the other thing that i think is important is that we have overlooked the fact that this is the centennial of the release of the film "birth of a nation." and what that film really was about, we get like racism but we don't see what he was proposing. but it was saying that white northerners and white southerners could reconcile themselves after the civil war around a shared contempt for black people a shared perspective that black people were problematic. when we look at this in a way that is more disturbing than i would like we do see that kind of idea that maybe "birth of a
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nation" -- saying there are lots of whites that feel they are the victims of racial discrimination. certainly we have seen this since president obama has been in office. >> so part of what -- you know you talk about that hundred years since that film and then we think about 50 years since selma when we stood together. and there was a very particular articulation of the beloved community, dr. king rabbi heschel, others who were involved in that moment. i guess part of what i'm interested in knowing from you all as students is what a racially just community looks like. when you showed up at college, what were you hoping for and how is that different from the experiences you're actually having? >> well, personally being at rutgers is one of the most diverse universities here at the u.s. i was expecting to go to school i was going to be sitting in my dorm room and have one of my asian friends, one of my caucasian friends and all be hanging out. i go to class together and see people who look like me.
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it really wasn't that if anything, you know you might see a little bit of the diversity in the classroom, but as soon as you leave, the whites go hang out with the whites the blacks go hang out with the blacks, your asians hang out with the asians and there's no mingling outside of that. so it really wasn't what i expected and i just wish that i could see more support from one another when we have our events that when the black student union has an event that it's not just the black students sitting there, that other people come out and we support one another. i wish we didn't have to you know, dance around the topics and be afraid that we're going to step on someone's toes. once we really get to a place where we embrace diversity and we understand it. >> do you have something to share on this? >> going back to this community this the community not just the student body but if we talk about diversity, i want to see it in the administration and the faculty. immaterial i'm sitting in the classroom and talking about
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diversity, it's another white male teaching it to me i want to see it within the administration and the faculty. >> thank you both for coming here and sharing. it takes a great deal of courage to sit at this table. jelani and susannah are sticking around and a good friend is showing up next. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo? just peachy...literally. ink from chase. so you can. this is the equivalent of the sugar in one regular can of soda. and this is a soda a day for a year. over an average adult lifetime that's 221,314 cubes of sugar.
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♪ ♪ ♪ in a new article for pbs news article, my next guest addressed the subject of discussing race and racism with young adults. as children of the multi-cultural '80s and '90s, millennials are fluent in color blindness and diversity while remaining illiterate in the language of anti-racism. this may not be the end of the world if it weren't for the fact that millennials don't know the difference between the two. joining me now michael denzel smith. so what is the difference
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between the two, mychal? >> the idea of diversity and tolerance is what we have been taught. representation matters so much so if you have a social group, a friend group or your classroom or your workplace special stifts of people of color, then that's the end of the conversation there. but we're not talking about the structures of racism whereby, okay, well your workplace is diverse but why is it the black people are the first fired when layoffs come down why are they not getting the same money and job advancements. so things like that aren't the core of what we're talking about. so you get this idea when you're younger that oh if i just like the kid that looks different from me racism is solved. like i'm not racist myself. but we're not teaching an analysis of what power structures look like and how that enacts in the real world. >> the new discourse is cultural competency, right? you learn some tools and tasks
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for having conversations. >> you have a kwanzaa celebration. now i'm a -- >> i celebrate kwanzaa with way more white people than black people. that's a conversation for a different day. but part of them -- so i have this experience with the united we dream activists this week. i'm sitting there thinking okay, we talk about cultural competency as learning spanish, increasing the number of latino students in colleges but haven't talked about the fact that across this country there are states where it is illegal for young people who are undocumented to even go to college, regardless of their skills. i mean whoa right? that's the difference between the structural and that cultural competence. >> the best example of this i think is that we can have all the cultural competency we want but people are really concerned about gutting the voting rights act for the same reason they're concerned about not wanting immigration reform and that is where the power lies in this country.
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more people of color and more people of color who are empowered and have their voting rights protected translates into more political power for those communities. >> this is part of what happened in ferguson, right? the language becomes, well we'll put more people of color on the police force and we'll all be fine rather than asking about the structural problems of policing, which once the report came out it was really clear -- >> it doesn't matter if those officers were white, black, whatever. it's the fact that you are stopping them for these small infractions, turning them into huge fines and extracting that wealth from the community that they don't have in the first place and balancing your books on that. that's what racism looks like. i think that we get caught up in the representation aspect of it. if the black faces are doing it that happens in counties all around ferguson with majority black police forces. they do the same exact thing. we have to understand that it's about the damage that's done to people. >> but then i don't want to miss what we started talking about
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with the young people before they left dr. heschel, at the same time that we're dismantling the bad and the evil maintaining some capacity to develop a vision of where we're going. and i also imagine that young people are probably the folks with the greatest radical imagination to do that. >> yes, i think it's true. and i think sometimes also in classrooms we do talk about the problems that we want to uncover and analyze and it's fine but we don't often enough look to the future. i also wonder if our religious leaders are giving us some visions that we need. certainly from our politicians, do we hear often from congress people a vision for where america should be a hundred years from now? where we should head? i don't think we hear that. we hear a lot of negative and that bothers me terribly. so what kind of inspiration are we giving the students? >> can i add one thing about young people. i think it's great to have these conversations about young people and their acceptance of race and
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so on. one of the things that happens as you get older, if you are a white person you have benefits that will accrue racially. so what do you say when your neighborhood becomes increasingly black and brown? do you move? what is your position vis-a-vis gentrification where race directly translates to the value of where you live the value associated with your body. what do you say about there being more children of color who are in school with your child? when you're at a point in life where you're not confronted by those kinds of systemic benefits that come from racism it's a lot easier to say, okay we're over the race thing. >> it's not so much i want -- but i just think maybe because they're not fully substantiated in and benefiting from it that they have a greater radical imagination, the capacity to imagine what it looks like when you don't have a mortgage. apparently none of the millennials will have mortgages because of their student loan debts.
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jelani cobb and susannah hesch especially thank you. this week i have a couple of special visitors. two of my wake forest students. nia and anna grace are seniors in the research fellows program at the center i direct on campus and this semester they have been completing independent research projects investigating political questions at the intersection of gender and race. this week i took them on a senior research trip to see how that research informs our political processes. we met with our congresswoman from north carolina, we visited the white house to discuss making intersectionally cognizant policy with the leaders from the council on women and girls and learned about strategies to push elected officials toward social justice goals with the staff of united we dream. now my students are here in nerdland learning about how we process all of that information and report it to the public. it has been so fun to have nia and ana grace with me this week.
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up next, time for tv now in color. [ male announcer ] legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. start your business today with legalzoom. i will take beauty into my own hands. olay regenerist. it regenerates surface cells. new skin is revealed in only 5 days. without drastic measures. stunningly youthful. award-winning skin. from the world's #1.
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this year 12 episodes of primetime tv have made television history. i'm talking about empire the mega hit about a hip-hop mogul, his family his music and his dynasty has rocked the ratings every week increasing its audience with each episode since its january 7th premiere. the show started with almost 10 million viewers but the record-breaking ratings surge among adults age 18 to 49 continued for three straight months. in fact its eighth episode was the highest rated regularly scheduled broadcast drama since the august 1, 2009 episode of "grey's anatomy." they maintained it through their finale. nearly 16 million tuned in for
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the first hour and more than 17 million for the second hour. the program was the most watched show on tv last week. while "empire" was broken all sorts of records this year it's just part of a broader trend. the two actors leading "empire" are acclaimed oscar nominees terrence howard and taraji henson. actors like viola davis in "how to get away with murder" and octavia spencer in "red band society." obviously part of the trend, nonwhite actors in these lead roles with shows like "blackish," "jane the virgin" and "fresh off the boat." television series are successfully embracing more diversity than in years prior and audiences are responding. the trend is set to continue in the fall. so far major networks have announced nearly 70 pilots with
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black actors in leading or supporting roles, making tv more reflective of the audience that is watching sounds like a good thing, right? not necessarily, according to an article on which explains, quote, as is the case with any sea change some suggest that the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. you know that set twitter on fire and gave shonda rymes and my guest all the feelings. let me talk to you about retirement. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go.
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while many of our favorite tv series come to a close in the coming weeks, we're reminded that it is pilot season many networks have released sneak peeks into tv shows that could potentially air in the fall. more than 70 of those pilots feature black actors as either lead or supporting characters. it's worth noting here that according to a report on racial representation in hollywood conducted by the bunch center at
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ucla, 81% of roles on broadcast scripted shows went to white actors in 2012 and 2013. but this fall there is a chance that the pieces of that pie chart might become a little more diverse. but writer nellie -- excuse me androvia took on that possibility. the original red pilots of 20 fitch, the year of ethnic casting about time or too much of a good thing? but "deadline" said it altered the title to better reflect the content of the title. content pause ittinged in of opening the field for actors of any race to compete any role. in response to the article twitter erupted with comments from tv actors and producers
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like shonda rhimes who said, hell no. let me take off my earrings somebody hold my purse. there was also some alternative headlines proposed headlines like headline tv protagonists to now reflect actual demographics of audiences, but whew, we still got movies y'all, joining me janet mock msnbc contributor and host of so popular on shift by msnbc, mychal denzel smith and jay kicho who is co-founder of ascentic. all right. what was "deadline" thinking? >> who knows. even the headline alone, ethnic casting, that term -- >> i love it. >> you've got to cringe at it. i've got to cringe. but the real issue here is that you know, people might actually
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be listening to this. hollywood executives might be reading that "deadline" piece and say you know what they're right. we've got to stop this ethnic casting before it gets out of hand and these poor white people are out of work. >> here's one thing that maybe is happening, maybe is happening that might be interesting and that is this idea of a difference between -- and whether or not there's a meaningful distinction between roles that anyone can sort of -- versus writing for telling a story. so think with "blackish" and "fresh off the boat," they are telling stories of communities versus i'm thinking bringing a certain flavor through your own identity. >> everybody talks about color blind casting which i don't quite believe in and i think right now there seems to be an effort to really cast people and create roles for people of color. i don't believe that originality
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is something they are awarded with. i think they see "empire" is successful so the key there is let's put people of color there. people of color alone is not good enough. we also have to have good content. >> or the aleastat least compelling. i don't know if "empire" is good, but it is compelling. i love it. i watch -- i watch it like it is my religious responsibility to do so. i mean i'm -- it's -- you know it's compelling. and i guess that's part of the question is whether or not -- and this is i guess, my one concern around it. is it compelling in part for audiences not just because of wanting to see ourselves reflected in some way but because there's always that desire to consume black and brown and ethnic bodies in a way that can be troubling, right. oh let me go understand those people by watching a tv show. >> which is not going to happen. >> huh-uh. >> but at the same time i mean i think kevin has mentioned it in
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his article for "the daily beast" that it's not really about who or like -- it's on television. it's not the fact that it's on television, at the end of the day not all black people are a record executive or drug kingpin. >> what? >> there's different things out there for different people. not all asian americans are restaurant owners or karate masters. so when it becomes -- when there's diversity to different faces and when different -- different elements of the ethnic communities are portrayed, it becomes something that is obvious. once it becomes obvious, you know, as you mentioned in the article, it creates a nuance that you know you could actually have real intelligent discussions about race without having preconceived notions about things. >> but i think this also speaks to why there's a sort of backlash because what's happening is not just the opening up of roles for people of color on tv it's more
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complex roles, more compelling roles, more new aungsed roles and things you're not used to see them in. and particularly the black women, so you have this new exercising of this new like humanity in these roles, and people are like wait wait i'm freaking out because doesn't follow the script that i'm used to. >> you went a slightly different place than i expected. given what we had just been talking about of the idea of this millennial let's just have different faces at the table versus trying to undo the nature of privilege, victoria role wrote a piece in response, as many people did to the "deadline" piece where she tries to think about the structural inequities. it's not just having different faces, he was one of the first faces on daytime tv for example, but rather maybe the concern here is the ways in which the benefits the profits,
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the decision-making around what we see also becomes available for people of color. shonda isn't on tv she is making tv. >> but we only have shonda in that respect or tyler perry. so if we want to talk like who's in the writers' rooms, who's writing these shows, who's green lighting these shows. it's not necessarily a reflection of a shift in power, it's a reflection of a shift in representation. but we saw an explosion in kind of the '90s like after the -- after the success of "the cosby show" you have the explosion of black people on tv and then that disappears. >> and obviously it was a step right, but as she has mentioned earlier, but end of the day it's business, it's about making money. obviously, "empire" and any of these shows coming up with black casts is making money so record executives are like yo this makes sense. same with "fresh off the boat." we were talking about it earlier. if asian americans didn't have a
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dominant middle class where advertisers are saying yo we could actually make money off these people. i don't think that show would have happened. >> and it's also -- i think the other piece here is who are these roles being taken from. i think that's what really upsets a least a lot of the agents might say that was quoted in the "deadline" piece. they're upset that the focus is ethnic. that white actors are not going to be able to work anymore. they still have most of the roles. >> white actors are okay. even though white we want to complicate, right? and that's part of in fact what kerry washington did when she was channeling olivia pope at her best all in the name of equality. more on that when we come back. in small buso work hard, know your numbers, and stay f in small bus i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase.
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if you're a fan of this program, you probably already know very well that we love shonda rimes' "scandal" here in
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nerdland. in real life kerry washington is also a champion of equality for all. and she did some serious olivia pope-like move on saturday. >> women, poor people people of color, people with disabilities immigrants, gay men, lesbians bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex people. we have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of other. there is so much power in story telling, and there is enormous power in inclusive story telling, in inclusive representations. >> i just love it when she teaches a whole class while getting an award and wearing that dress. to me that was like the
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anti-arquette who was motivated by the same idea but didn't have the same analysis. >> i think she was speaking directly to patricia arquette's comments earlier. as this idea that we as people who are marginalized don't band together. instead of fighting the systems we all -- that are oppressing us all, we're not going to get anywhere. i love that she's also saying it within this room which i think is also very powerful because it's a largely white, upper-middle class, gay-male dominated room in this idea there's intersectionalty within here as well. kerry is this woman that's black and a woman. it's this idea that with patricia, who's telling, let's get the black people behind us the gays behind us. >> yeah right. maybe you noticed many of us live at the intersection of all of those identities. i thought it was interesting. jeff daniels was tweeting about the viewership of "fresh off the boat." i thought this was fascinating and important on this question
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of what it looks like to band together. just in terms of pure viewership more african-americans an asian-americans watch "fresh off the boat." 59% of the viewers are white. 14.5%, asian. 11.1%, hispanic. that's a close representation of what the american demographics look like. this is not a show about black folks, but black folks are watching it because it's a good show. >> at the end of the day, it's really about content. just because i'm asian-american, that doesn't necessarily make me distant away from content with black actors or white actors. go to any part of the world. white actors are celebrated. but speaking of "fresh off the boat," it's definitely an interesting topic because it obviously portrays a specific portion of asian-american community. it doesn't represent all of us. like "empire" doesn't represent
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all of african-americans. but just the fact there's a show like that exists, it's a steppingstone steppingstone. it's the beginning of a conversation that we could have. i feel like, you know i champion jeff's idea. obviously his son is in the show. >> of course. right. which is why he knows the numbers so well. >> yes, i definitely agree. there should be a sense of bonding together in order to el grate all of us. >> enit also feels like to keep the content piece of that incapsulated incapsulated, yes, we support one another, but not just because of identity diversity. i ain't going to watch tyler perry. >> why not? >> because i am appalled. i could spend -- i would have to take alex's whole show to explain to you how much i dislike tyler perry's -- that doesn't mean everybody should. it just means i do. part of my capacity as a black viewer is to make choices about what parts of -- right.
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so i don't thip bonding together means therefore not caring about what is actually being represented. >> as much as they tried to convince me the future of black film was dependent on me going to see "red tails" -- >> still not going. >> just because i'm asian does not mean i'm going to see every content with an asian-american in it. >> what kerry washington was saying ties into why we're talking about the deadline thing. we should be encouraging incluesivity. the deadline was fearful that parts are intended for white people are being rewritten, which doesn't make sense. you're going to have to rewrite things to get more minorities on tv. we're going to have to take the action and maybe rewrite things put people behind the camera and give them a chance in order for
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this to happen. >> and in a world where television viewership is shifting so dramatically as a result of new technologies the way that we watch and consume news, in order to compete -- you know we talked about the money. it's not just money. it's also the innovation of what the thing is that is television. >> it's also the fresh voices coming in this new pilot season. i'm excited about new young black fresh voices. i think it's really exciting that we're also getting young black voices or young voices of color that are kind of creating change. >> i do not want to see a remake of "rush hour" though. i'm against that. just leave it the way it is. >> but this is the point about content matters. we don't just want all representation. we want good, fun, interesting, quirky diverse representations. my thanks to you all. by the way, don't miss janet's
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show "so popular" on shift by msnbc fridays at 11:00 a.m. thanks to you at home for watching. see you next saturday 10:00 a.m. eastern. right now, "weekends with alex witt." ♪ the new, twenty-fifteen ford focus believes in "more." more to see. more to feel. ♪ more to make things really really... interesting. ♪ the new focus. from the auto brand more people buy, and buy again. ♪ yoplait. with a smooth and creamy taste your whole family loves. it is so good all of the time.
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